Timbers play host to Austin, Baltimore at PGE Park

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Timbers play host to a pair of matches this week as the club opens a three-game homestand to close out its regular-season home schedule at PGE Park. The Timbers meet the Austin Aztex at 7 p.m., before facing Crystal Palace Baltimore on Sunday at 6 p.m.

Tickets start at $12 in advance and are available for purchase through the PGE Park box office, area Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com or by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Thursday is Timbers Heritage Night, presented by Cricket Wireless. The night features a special testimonial match, honoring former Timbers player and assistant coach Jimmy Conway. Starting at 5 p.m., the testimonial match will pit a team of former Timbers players, including Gavin Wilkinson, Dale Mitchell, Lee Morrison, Brian Winters, Hugo Alcaraz-Cuellar, Paul Conway, Andrew Gregor, John Anderson, Pete Stanley and John Bain, against a team of players coached by Conway at the youth and collegiate levels. Conway, who will play for both teams during the testimonial match, will also be recognized by the Timbers with a special presentation at halftime of the match against the Aztex.

Sunday’s match is a Kids Sunday at PGE Park. Kids will have the opportunity to help run the show at PGE Park, including coach or player for a day, guest ticket-taker and photographer assistant. To sign up, visit www.portlandtimbers.com. Kids 12 and under can also take advantage of the Timbers’ Kids-Eat-Free plan prior to kickoff. The first 2,000 fans receive a Growth Chart presented by Dairy Farmers of Oregon, featuring defender Quavas Kirk.

The Timbers (9-7-7, 34pts) enter the week on a two-game winning streak, which has helped the club claim sole possession of third place in the USL Conference and fourth place in the overall USSF Division-2 Pro League standings. Portland currently sits five points back of the Vancouver Whitecaps in third place with a game in hand. The top eight clubs – regardless of conference alignment – advance to the playoffs, with the two conference winners taking the top two seeds.

The Aztex, one of two teams who have already secured a playoff berth, make their only regular-season visit to PGE Park on Thursday. Earlier in the season, the Timbers dealt the Aztex (13-3-5, 44pts) their first shutout of the season in a scoreless draw June 9 in Austin. Last season, the Aztex were one of just three teams to earn a win at PGE Park with a 2-1 victory in Sept. All-time, the Timbers are 2-1-1 against Austin.

Portland faces Crystal Palace Baltimore (6-12-6, 24pts) for the first time since May 22; it is the third regular-season meeting between the two clubs. The Timbers have lost each of the first two matches against Baltimore, including a 1-0 defeat at home May 13. Midfielder Ryan Pore gave the Timbers a 1-0 lead in a road match May 22, but Crystal Palace Baltimore scored twice in the final 16 minutes to steal a 2-1 victory. The Timbers and Crystal Palace Baltimore finish their season series Sept. 25 in Baltimore.

Both Thursday’s and Sunday’s matches will be televised live on FSN, with a live radio broadcast on Sportsradio 95.5 The Game. A live video webcast will also be available online at www.portlandtimbers.com/live.

One of the top teams in the USL Conference and the league, the Aztex clinched a playoff berth with a 3-2 win over the Carolina RailHawks last weekend. Austin has won four of its last five matches and sits just four points behind the first-place Rochester Rhinos in the race for the USSF Division-2 Pro League regular-season title. The Aztex play the Timbers as part of a two-game trip to the Northwest; they will travel to play the Vancouver Whitecaps on Sunday.

The NASL Conference’s Crystal Palace Baltimore makes its second and final trip to PGE Park during the regular season. Baltimore has suffered back-to-back losses, including a 5-0 defeat against the Montreal Impact on Aug. 21 at home. In the month of August, Crystal Palace Baltimore has a 1-3-1 record and has been shut out in four of its five matches. The team’s lone win in August was a 2-1 victory over the RailHawks on Aug. 14.